Tag Archives: travel

Summer 2012 – Let The Vacation Begin!

Warning…  I swear a lot in this one….

Well, it’s 2012 and I’m off for the summer, soon to be broke and bored yet again.

This is the third day of my vacation and I’ve been pretty damn industrious.  I started DAY ONE on Tuesday with these Facebook posts:

  • Vacation Day One: Woke up with a headache +. Fed the cats, birds, squirrels and chipmunks. Coffee, breakfast, Facebook, Pinterest, Scramble. A little TV. Vacuumed downstairs and steps. Cleaned downstairs bathroom. Making a pot of gravy. Head better. Time 12:26 pm.
  • Vacation Day One Continued: Laundry. Lunch. Scooped kitty boxes. Washed dishes and cleaned kitchen. Brought pile of shoes upstairs. Admired the sun – maybe I’ll go out on the deck…. Made a batch of meatballs. It’s 1:57 pm.
  • Less industrious this afternoon: tasted a meatball. More laundry. Folded towels. TV, FB, Scramble. Downloaded a book. Thinking about a cocktail.

Not bad for a first day off!

DAY TWO on Wednesday went something like this:

  • It’s going to be 96 today!  I’m going to lay out all day (after I vacuum) and read my book, Not Taco Bell Material.  Let me get my Crystal Light lemonade, my phone, my Blackberry and…. oh shit… I need a beach towel.
  • Damn!  It’s hot out here!  Whew!  I’m sweating my ass off.  Maybe I’ll go inside and have lunch.  Maybe a meatball.  Mmmm.  These are good.  Wait.  I need more lemonade.  Hmmmm… maybe a cocktail.  A Vootbeer – yeah, that’s what I want.  Vanilla Vodka & diet rootbeer.  Yum!
  • Maybe I should lay on my stomach.  My back is so white.  No.  The friggin’ squirrels ate my beanbag lounge – what can I lay on?
  • Boy, this metal deck is hot.  The pool still looks like shit – I guess I’ll hose myself down.
  • Ouch!  That fuckin’ water is hot!  What is it boiling?  Lemme wait until it cools off.  I smell musty now.
  • I have mosquito bites all over me!  WTF!  It’s the middle of the day!  GD Jersey Shore!
  • Fuck this shit!  I’m going inside.  It’s too hot out here anyway.
  • JC!  What’s the temperature in here?  It’s too warm.  JCPL probably cut back on the electricity.  Fuckers.
  • Maybe I should get the mail.
  • Screw this.  I’m not cooking.  We’ll have leftovers.

DAY THREE – Thursday:

  • I can’t believe I was dreaming about Scramble all night.  Seriously.  I need coffee.  Maybe I’ll have some cantaloupe.
  • Oh how cute!  The squirrelies want to eat.  Should we throw them some peanuts kitties?
  • I don’t feel like vacuuming.  I’ll do it later.  I’m going outside.
  • Wow!  It’s hotter than yesterday!  Let’s see how long I’ll last.  I’m laying on my stomach today.  This towel should work.  Holy shit!  I think I burnt my boob!  This damn deck is like a frying pan.
  • I think I’m losing a cup-size.  I’m going inside.  This is ridiculous.
  • What day is it?  When’s the last time I showered?  I smell.  I’ll shower later.
  • Oooo… anyone on Scramble?

As you can see my week is deteriorating quickly.  I spent most of the day taking pictures of my pussies and backyard wildlife and posting them on Facebook,  fucking around on Pinterest and looking up recipes for Jello Shots!

It’s too humid to lay out without a swimable pool, work around the house, cook, bake or think!  

I know.  I shouldn’t bitch.  I have the summer off.  How many more days of this?

I really need a summer job!

Can anyone relate?   Teachers perhaps?

I’ll tell you one thing – if it’s only day three and I can’t remember the last time I bathed, I’m already in trouble.  At least I’m not double-fisting Champagne by the pool yet…  just give me a few more days.

© 2012 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

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The Historic Village at Allaire

After a calorie-laden breakfast at IHOP, where I consumed more calories than I do in one day (or more), my husband and I took a ride to Allaire State Park in Farmingdale, New Jersey.

We visited the Historic Village and had a much-needed walk.  Even though it was a nippy 28 degrees, we enjoyed the quiet and the quaint 19th century settlement.

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© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010. 

Discourteous Richards: Always Alive & Well in NJ

I love to drive.  I own a BMW for Pete’s Sake.  They say it’s the Ultimate Driving Machine – and it is.  I love to maneuver up the Garden State Parkway sans traffic, put the petal to the metal and enjoy the ride.

With the top down, my IPOD at full blast I am unstoppable until I am hindered by none other than the Left Lane Dick.

The discourteous Richard:

  1. has no idea he or she is an idiot retarding your progress.
  2. has no clue that it is the law in NJ to keep right and pass left.
  3. is from New York or Pennsylvania – notorious Left Lane Dicks.
  4. is hanging in the left lane on purpose because he or she really is a douchebag.

Nothing makes me road rage more than a taste of a left lane lagger.

I have a 20 minute drive to work door to door and I find myself losing my mind as I try to fly up the highway.  I tailgate.  I scream.  I swear excessively.  I hand gesture and flip the bird.  I drive with my knee.  I pull up next to people and actually yell at them.  I cut them off.  I lose my mind!

When one of my road adversaries gets cocky and thinks he can scare me by tailgating my pristine automobile, I look in the rear view mirror, gesture to him to come closer, swear a few times, then slam on my brakes.  He usually backs off.

I’m tired of being strong-armed by stupid men and women on the road.  I drive like Mario Andretti – not a typical chick – no offense to my gender or any other but STAY OUT OF THE LEFT LANE!

Even if I’m passing on the left doing 95 mph and someone wants to go faster, I move it on over because that’s the way it should be.  Bottlenecking every single lane of the Parkway does nothing but create traffic and cause road rage.

Don’t we have enough of distractions on the road?  We need eyes up our butts and are distracted by screaming kids (not me), loud music, rubber-necking, LLDs and now the GPS.  It’s always so confusing.  It should stand for Go Ahead And Piss Me Off System.  It finds new ways to screw me up while I’m driving but I have found a new use for it.

I Spy.  Remember that game?  You tell me.  What do you see in my picture?  At least it’s good for amusement purposes.

So with all we have to worry about while driving, I wish we could get rid of the Left Lane Dick and push him into extinction because no one should be held back by a jerk off.

You can use that advice in life too.  Good luck.

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010. Re-published 2011.

The Three Little Pigs Sandwich

Recently I was watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain‘s No Reservations:  Chicago.  At the Silver Palm Restaurant he was eating a sandwich called The Three Little Pigs and it completely peaked my foodie interest.

It looked sinful, fattening and delicious!  Oh, and it was big enough to choke a horse… I had to try it.

Smoked ham, a breaded pork cutlet, 2 strips of bacon, 2 fried eggs, covered in Gruyère and encased in a Brioche bun.  Truly a heart attack waiting to happen.  I mean, you’d blow your calorie allowance for an entire week by eating this mammoth fare.

So last night I made my own version of this mouth-watering goody.  I cooked everything on the grill (grill-griddle for eggs and bacon) because it’s too hot inside.   I took some chef’s liberties by substituting along the way – though I think it would have tasted even better using the original recipe.

2 boneless pork chops, butterflied
1 egg for dipping
panko
4 – 6 slices of smoked ham – I used applewood smoked ham
4 eggs
4 slices of Gruyère – I used Manchego
4 slices of bacon
2 brioche rolls – I used 2 hard rolls
salt & pepper to taste

Butterfly chops and sprinkle with salt and pepper .  Dip in egg and coat with panko – grill, bake, broil or pan-fry pork until cooked through.

Cook bacon until crispy & fry eggs (sprinkle with salt & pepper).  Just before eggs are done top with cheese and melt.
Warm smoked ham.  I threw it on the grill.

Assemble sandwich on roll:  pork cutlet, ham, eggs & cheese and bacon.

Serves 2.

I have to say that this was a great sandwich but I couldn’t finish it all.  I could feel my pressure going up from all the salty piggy, but once in a while won’t hurt.

This is definitely a must-try sandwich.  My version is smaller than the original.  Let me know what you think.

Final Piggy

Enjoy!

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Rich Boys, Turkish Toilets & Mosh Pits

When I was a wild and crazy 21-year-old, living in Paris and doing whatever the hell I wanted, my days were never dull and my nights were pretty exciting as well.

I was always meeting random guys and going to random parties – which were always spectacular.  One night I was invited to party right off the Champs Élysées– I think it was on rue Victor Hugo.

It was a great soirée complete with spoiled, rich boys ready to show all a good time and spend some serious cash.  The night went great – drinking, dancing, socializing… and then I had to pee.

I sauntered into the co-ed bathrooms and discovered that I was facing my long time fear – peeing in a Turkish Toilet.  If you have never seen this particular animal, it’s a hole in the floor with a place to put your feet – but remember to jump out as you flush or your feet will get wet.

I entered the stall, ignoring the fact that a cute boy was peeing next to me, lifted my skirt, pulled down my stockings and tried to perform a super squat directing my urine into the tiny hole rather than spilling it down my legs.

Success!  All was well dans les toilettes.  My legs were dry and my clothes were pee free.  I had managed to pull it off.

Back on the dance floor a mosh pit had developed with young, drunk Parisiansslamming into each other with of course, some casualties.

After a few more cocktails and some major ass-shaking, we headed over to Les Bains Douches – the hot club du jour in Paris in 1987.  Bains Douches was an exclusive “Studio 54” type atmosphere where you waited outside until you were picked to go inside.

The rich boys that we were with were a tad inebriated and tried to push me to the front in my see-through lace top and micro mini and very big hair so that we would all get in.   That didn’t work because the door Nazi would only let me in and no one else.

Then the poor, little rich boy pulled out a wad of cash and tried to bribe the chick guarding the door…

“Ça vaut pas la peine monsieur.”

Which is French for “No fucking way!”  We left with our tails between our legs (not mine – frankly I was a little aggravated I didn’t go in – but I couldn’t ditch my new-found friends) and trudged off to another club or bar – who remembers?

What I loved about Paris then and love about it now is that there is always something to do, someone to meet and somewhere to go.  You’ll never be bored unless you choose to be.

I never saw those guys again (at least I don’t think I did – so long ago) but I’ll always remember it like it was yesterday.  Twenty two years later I can still envision my surroundings and remember what it was like to pee in a co-ed Turkish Toilet for the first time.

I’ve peed in a few since then.  Have you ever?

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010 – Re-published July 2011.

French Doors

I love France.  Paris in particular.  I’ve been going to France since I was 16 years old.  I even lived there for a year and attended La Sorbonne.  I know the ins and the outs of the city even today – it’s like I never left.

There is so much beauty in the The City of Lights, its hard to focus in on just one thing.  The architecture is amazing.  No matter where you go, there is always something interesting to see.  I have a love for French doors.  They are so ornate and captivating that you can’t stop looking for more doors.

1.  Notre Dame de Paris

2.  Musée de Montmartre

3.  Dans Le Marais

4.  Dans Paris

5.  Numéro Quinze

6.  Hôtel de Chalons de Luxembourg 4 è

7.  À Minuit

8.  55, rue Geoffroy St. Hilaire – My First Apartment

9.  Au Jardin des Plantes

10.  Musée du Moyen Âge

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010. Re-published 2011.

Twenties vs. Forties: A Top 20 REVISITED

After having one of those days where I just should have stayed in bed, I pondered my life both then and now and decided to make a side-by-side comparison of

Mom & Me in my twenties

what I wanted from life or did in my twenties and what I want from life or do now that I’m almost 43.

Things change and priorities shift as you get older.  When you have kids they change even more.  As a responsible adult sometimes fun gets put on the back-burner and a once clear-head become non-existent.  I miss that clear-head.

Me in my forties

When I was 20 I was living it up in Paris on my parents’ dime, footloose and fancy free.  My only concern was where the next best soirée would be held and who was going to be on the guest list of my next party.  At 43 I worry about paying my bills, money in general, the health and well-being of my family, my health, taking care of my cats, going to work and the list continues.

So let’s take this point by point so we examine the age gap and maybe now understand what our parents went through with us as cranky teenagers and crankier twenty somethings.

  1. 20:  I wanted a hot guy with a hot car.  Hondas need not apply.
    40:  I want my hot guy with his hot car.
  2. 20:  I drove a fast 1978 Camaro LT, 350 4-barrel with louvers, air shocks, fat tires and a spoiler.  I had a lead-foot.
    40:  I drive a fast BMW convertible  with fat tires and I still have a lead-foot.
  3. 20:  I worked at TSV Video (when I was in the US), watched movies all day, drank wine, flirted with the customers, watched and recommended porno, loved my boss Stan and used to arrange Gumby-like toys in sexual positions on his desk every night.  I rarely had to deal with any bullsh**.  My biggest responsibility was making change and setting the alarm.
    40:  I work as a teacher, enlighten impressionable minds all day, drown in paperwork, drink water or Crystal Light, recommend places to visit in Paris and I’m not commenting on the boss.  I constantly have to deal with bullsh**  from EVERYONE.  My BIG responsibility is other people’s children.
  4. 20:  I had a dog.  My parents took care of her and I played with her.
    40:  I have 2 cats and I take care of them:  butt wiping, baths, litter box scooping, trips to the vet, cuddling partner, Mommy, playmate.
  5. 20:  I pounded shots.  Many shots.  Body shots.
    40:  I sip good wine.  A lot of wine.  All kinds of wine.
  6. 20:  I tried to figured out new ways to get away from my parents.
    40:  I wish I still had both my mom and dad and now love spending time with my Daddy.
  7. 20:  I had a Mandee Charge Card and no debt.
    40:  I have too many credit cards to count and debt up the wazoo.
  8. 20:  I weighed 120 pounds and ate anything I wanted.
    40:  I’m always on a diet!
  9. 20:  I would stay out all night and party.
    40:  I will stay out all night and party but try to get home by 4 so I don’t piss off the husband.
  10. 20:  I wanted to be a translator for the U.N. or a big-wig in the international business world.
    40:  I want to keep my teaching job and hope my pension will still be there.
  11. 20:  I slathered on baby oil so I could get that deep, dark tan.
    40:  I slather on sun block and skin repairing cream to try to undo the sun damage of yesteryear.
  12. 20:  I had big, whorey hair.
    40:  I have big, whorey hair.
  13. 20:  Fifty dollars was a lot to spend on shoes.
    40:  Now I try not to spend over $500.
  14. 20:  I had no kids.
    40:  I still have no kids (by choice).
  15. 20:  I never wanted to go home.
    40:  I can’t wait to get home.
  16. 20:  I lived in France and loved it.
    40:  I want to live in France and I still love it.
  17. 20:  I had a boyfriend who wanted me to look like a Barbie doll.
    40:  I have a husband who wants me to look like a Barbie doll.
  18. 20:  Dressing like a whore was always an option.
    40:  Dressing like a whore is a weekend only option.
  19. 20:  I went to the gym almost every day.
    40:  I stare at all the gym equipment in my house and dust it off once and a while.
  20. 20:  I stared at myself in the mirror and thought about how hot I looked.
    40:  I stare at myself in the mirror and notice fine lines and aging and think about when I can get my first facelift.

Some things have changed and some things have stayed the same.  I believe age is only a number (even though it keeps creeping around like a bad case of crabs) but with age come wisdom and knowledge.  I’ve heard before that youth is wasted on the young.  I believe it now.  If we only knew then what we know now, we could have ruled the world.

I don’t know about you but I’m not done yet and I still plan on ruling the world.

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010. Re-published 2011.

Looking Back on Memorial Day

So many people in America have parties and BBQs on Memorial Day.  It’s a time of celebration for so many but I think America has forgotten what Memorial Day is all about.

Memorial Day, formerly Decoration Day, is a day when we should remember the brave men and women who died for our country.

That’s what Memorial Day is.  It’s a Memorial Day.

So while everyone is BBQ ing, keep these images in mind and never forget.

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The American Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy is a must-see at least once in your life.  The emotions that raged through me the day I was there were staggering.

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

BENNY Bombardement: Weekend Invasion At The Jersey Shore

Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, New York

BENNY.  If you’re from NJ you know the word BENNY.  A BENNY is someone who lives in North Jersey or NY and invades the Jersey Shore on the weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Being a former BENNY myself, I travelled in the wee hours of the night to avoid traffic at all costs.  I was down the shore every weekend.  I would even sleep in the back of my Camaro if I didn’t have a place to stay.  Now that I am a resident of the Jersey Shore I find BENNYs to be a gridlock creating breed of tourists who are good for the economy but bad for my peace and quiet.

I won’t even go near the beach or boardwalk on the weekends.  The crowds are monumental.  A 5 minute in-town drive might take you 35 minutes or more.  It’s insanity.  My husband and I wait until Sunday night after 10 pm to attempt a boardwalk visit.  By that time the crowds have dwindled and the traffic is minimal so the boards are a good bet for a late Sunday night of fun.

This weekend was the kick-off of the summer in NJ.  I always have to work the Friday before and stress about traffic.  I have a 20 minute door to door drive to work that might take 2 hours or more via the GSP.  This Friday was a record for me (in a good way) – I made it home in under 30 minutes thanks to back roads and Route 18 South.  It’s a Godsend.

For the rest of the holiday weekend I usually sequester myself to my property perimeters, venturing to a neighbor’s or to the nearest liquor store for supplies.  I don’t dare travel within a mile of the beach.  Last time I tried to buy bread at Fortunato’s, I got stuck in the “beach” traffic on Mantoloking Road.  Needless to say, I never made it to the bread.

When I was a BENNY from North Jersey I hopped in my car every single weekend, could have sat in traffic for hours and if I left on a Sunday afternoon, it would sometimes take me 4 hours to complete a 1 hour drive.  As I get older I have less tolerance for crowds, traffic and annoying people, so from Memorial Day to Labor Day, I do what many other shore dwellers do.  Stay away from the beach and boardwalk unless absolutely necessary.

I don’t know if I’m turning against my people or I’m just getting crotchety in my old age, but the BENNY Blitz has only just begun.  If you’re my friend, welcome to the Jersey Shore, if you’re obnoxious, invasive and frankly a cavone, stay out of my sector and try Jones Beach.

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Rich Boys, Turkish Toilets & Mosh Pits: A February Post

When I was a wild and crazy 21-year-old, living in Paris and doing whatever the hell I wanted, my days were never dull and my nights were pretty exciting as well.

I was always meeting random guys and going to random parties – which were always spectacular.  One night I was invited to party right off the Champs Élysées– I think it was on rue Victor Hugo.

It was a great soirée complete with spoiled, rich boys ready to show all a good time and spend some serious cash.  The night went great – drinking, dancing, socializing… and then I had to pee.

I sauntered into the co-ed bathrooms and discovered that I was facing my long time fear – peeing in a Turkish Toilet.  If you have never seen this particular animal, it’s a hole in the floor with a place to put your feet – but remember to jump out as you flush or your feet will get wet.

I entered the stall, ignoring the fact that a cute boy was peeing next to me, lifted my skirt, pulled down my stockings and tried to perform a super squat directing my urine into the tiny hole rather than spilling it down my legs.

Success!  All was well dans les toilettes.  My legs were dry and my clothes were pee free.  I had managed to pull it off.

Back on the dance floor a mosh pit had developed with young, drunk Parisians slamming into each other with of course, some casualties.

After a few more cocktails and some major ass-shaking, we headed over to Les Bains Douches – the hot club du jour in Paris in 1987.  Bains Douches was an exclusive “Studio 54” type atmosphere where you waited outside until you were picked to go inside.

The rich boys that we were with were a tad inebriated and tried to push me to the front in my see-through lace top and micro mini and very big hair so that we would all get in.   That didn’t work because the door Nazi would only let me in and no one else.

Then the poor, little rich boy pulled out a wad of cash and tried to bribe the chick guarding the door…

“Ça vaut pas la peine monsieur.”

Which is French for “No fucking way!”  We left with our tails between our legs (not mine – frankly I was a little aggravated I didn’t go in – but I couldn’t ditch my new-found friends) and trudged off to another club or bar – who remembers?

What I loved about Paris then and love about it now is that there is always something to do, someone to meet and somewhere to go.  You’ll never be bored unless you choose to be.

I never saw those guys again (at least I don’t think I did – so long ago) but I’ll always remember it like it was yesterday.  Twenty two years later I can still envision my surroundings and remember what it was like to pee in a co-ed Turkish Toilet for the first time.

I’ve peed in a few since then.  Have you ever?

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010

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